Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The post where josiekitten looks slightly shamefaced!

A squishy parcel arrived at school today - the yarn I ordered on Sunday from Modern Knitting. They have such a brilliant service! I opened it so that I could admire it at various points during the day! Michele asked me to knit her Dad some more socks, so I ordered 'Orange Spice' from Schoppel Wolle, and 'Landscape Earth' from Regia.

My creation

I'm not sure where the 3rd ball came from - it fell into my basket at the checkout! It's 'Zauberball' from Schoppel Wolle, in the shade Fuchsienbeet. The colours are a mix of vivid purple, pink and orange, and I'm holding Jominx fully responsible for this purchase. She showed off her stash recently, and also started knitting a pair of socks in the same colourway, and stashbust or no stashbust, I just couldn't resist! Maybe as it's the start of Lent, these are the equivalent of my pancakes, and no more goodies now 'til Easter!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

More sock news

Looking at the calendar this weekend, it was a shock to see that March is looming fast! And my February socks are nowhere near done! So I knitted like mad yesterday and finished the first one. It's my first time doing a short-row toe and heel, and I like the way it works, even though I can't explain how it's achieved!

I am pleased with the sock on the whole, although I think that I would have probably done a couple more rounds of the pattern before starting the ribbing. But it fits perfectly, so I need to get the other one cast on. As it's a pretty straightforward knit, I think that it will become my lunchtime sock this week, to try and get it finished before the month is over! I already know what my next sock is going to be - Spring Forward. We're starting a Knitalong on the Phoenix Knitting Forums, so at least I'm spared all the agonising over patterns! I'm going to choose a semi-solid yarn for this pattern, as I think it will show off the lace much better.

I dropped the stripy socks into Michele yesterday, and her Dad loves them. He put them on there and then, and has asked for another pair. So I've ordered some more yarn from Modern Knitting (allowed as I'm not enhancing stash!!), and will get going on them in due course. It's so nice when your knitting is appreciated! Connected with those socks, remember that I said there was a knot in the yarn? Here's a photo, so you don't need to look back.........

I emailed Coats, to let them know about the problem, and yesterday I recieved a £5 voucher to redeem against new yarn! I was most impressed by their customer service.

I've also been busy buying more beads, so will post some photos when they arrive. I think it's ok to buy them, if it means that I'm going to be using up stash!!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Only a little slip off the stash-busting wagon!

Well, I promised that I'd confess all didn't I? My trip to Textiles in Focus proved very profitable! I spotted a few balls of Mini Mochi on the Woolly Workshop stand, so snaffled a couple pretty quickly! From what I've read, the yarn is in short supply over here, with new stock not expected in until May. The yarn is beautifully soft, with vibrant colours that remind me of Noro. No doubt, destined to become socks! (No surprises there then!) I also bought a skein of DK wool from 21st Century Yarns. This was very reasonably priced, at only £7.40 for 100g. There was a fantastic choice of colours, and eventually I chose the colourway Kashmir. I want to experiment with knitting using beads, also purchased today. I could have bought a lot more, as there were some gorgeous sock yarns there, but my resolve was strong (and I'd only taken cash!!)

My creation

The photos at the bottom show both sides of the skein from 21st Century Yarns - see what I mean about the lovely colours?

I've just joined a new knitting forum, Phoenix Knitting Forums, formed after the sudden disappearance of Angel Yarns. I felt very sad yesterday when I discovered that the AY forum had disappeared so suddenly, without warning. So I was delighted to see how quickly some very enterprising and clever members have set up a new forum, so that we can all keep in touch with our virtual knitting friends. Thank you so much.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Snowy adventures

Mr Josiekitten and I have just spent a long weekend in Krakow, Poland. It's a beautiful city, packed with history. Despite the rather cold and snowy weather, we made the most of our stay and packed in loads of sightseeing. I was well wrapped up in my Haven scarf and was toasty warm. We visited Auschwitz and Birkenau, a chilling experience. Our guide was excellent, and seeing the camps in such bleak conditions made you appreciate the true horrors of the place. Some of the displays were very harrowing, especially the room full of women's hair, much of it still in plaits, from when it was cut. The sheer quantity was mind-blowing. Equally hard to look at was the display of children's clothes and toys - there were some beautifully knitted cardigans and jumpers, and a lovely Norwegian style baby sock. Each one of these once belonged to someone. We also visited the saltmines at Wieliczka, travelling deep underground to view the amazing carvings and sculptures. We did a lot of walking, and had 2 guided tours - one around the Old Town, and the other around Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarters. Stephen Spielberg used this area for filming some of the scenes in Schindler's List. Again, our guide was excellent, and we came away with our heads buzzing with information. We sampled lots of Polish food - I love zurek, a sour rye soup with kielbasa (Polish sausage) - and we also had placki (potato pancakes), pierogi (dumplings), bigos (a stew of pickled cabbage and sausage) and goulash! Lots of yummy puds too! I justified all this by way of the cold weather and all the walking!!!!

Krakow mix

Even though I am currently stash-busting, I was on the look out for yarn shops! And so, I have to say, was Mr Josiekitten! He actually pointed out two shops that he spotted (he's very well trained!) We visited a couple, but they were both a bit of an acrylic heaven, so I didn't buy anything! But I do know the Polish for yarn shop - pasmanteria, just in case you ever need it!

I finished my 2nd pair of lunchtime socks in Poland. I wanted something that didn't require any brain power! They are lovely and bright, and I hope that Michele's Dad will like them.

I'm cracking on with my Salsa cardigan again, and am halfway up the 2nd sleeve. I'm hoping to get in finished in the next week, as long as I don't get distracted by anything else. And of course, my toe-up sock is nearing the heel, which could require a bit of concentration.

I have a feeling that I might fall off the stash-busting wagon tomorrow, as I'm off to Textiles in Focus, in Cambridge. I'm going with Sally, from my knitting group, so I will tell her to speak sternly to me and ask if my purchases are essential!! I promise that I will confess all tomorrow!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A list to inspire

I saw this on Kate's and Kai's blogs, and have pinched it! You mark in bold the things you have done, italicise the things you plan to do, and leave the rest. Here goes!

American/English knitting
Baby items
Cable stitch patterns
Charity knitting
Combination knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting
Drop stitch patterns
Dyeing spinning fiber
Dyeing with plant colors
Dying yarn
Fair Isle knitting
Free-form knitting
Garter stitch
Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Hats: Cuff-up
Hats: Top-down
Holiday related knitting
Household items
Kitchener stitch
Knitted flowers
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting to make money
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with dpns
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO
Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Participate in an exchange
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns
Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

That's some list! And I have to confess that I don't know what some of the things are - for example, Combination knitting, Continental knitting, Domino knitting and Thrummed knitting. Still, I've set myself plenty of challenges for the next few months (or years!) of things I'd like to try. I wonder how many I will have done by the end of 2009?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Decision made

I finally made up my mind on my February Sock Challenge sock. I have settled for the Yarn over Cable socks from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. It's knitted toe up, so I'm learning a new technique, and it should also mean that I don't run out of Jitterbug yarn before I'm done. I'll just knit up the leg until it's all gone. It was really incredible how the toe appeared from the provisional cast on. I'm not quite sure yet how the heel is going to work out, but I'm a little way from there yet, so I'm not going to worry about it! The yarn is really pooling, but there's nothing much I can do about it. Here's how it looks at the moment.

See what I mean about the pooling?! My lunchtime sock no.2 is also progressing well, and I'm making my way down the foot. The Salsa cardigan almost has one sleeve, but I don't think that I will get it finished in time for next weekend's trip to Krakow. I'm really looking forward to the break. As we only have one bag, I shall have to plan my holiday knitting carefully! Maybe a sock, or possibly my pink wormy scarf, as it won't take up much space!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Needing some inspiration

I've finished my first pair of lunchtime socks

and cast on another pair. Mr Josiekitten and I went down to London for the day yesterday, so I managed to get quite a bit done on the train. My friend Michele asked me if I would knit a pair of socks for her Dad as a birthday present. He's in his 80's, and likes bright colours, so I think these should be perfect - vivid stripes of green, red, orange, turquoise and blue, in a repeating pattern. So imagine my irritation when I discovered a knot in the yarn, linking red directly with orange. I've cut out a section, so have ended up with a single stripe of the red and orange in one pattern repeat, rather than waste a huge amount of yarn. Normally I wouldn't mind, but as these are a present, I suppose I shall have to try and match up the pair! There was much muttering and snarling on the train!

I haven't done anymore on the Salsa cardigan this week, but hope to get cracking on it tomorrow. I've finished the back and both fronts, and grafted the shoulder seams together to save the making up, and sewn in all the ends!! Sleeves here I come!
I'm ready to start the next sock in my 2009 Sock Challenge. The yarn I've chosen is Colinette Jitterbug, but I'm struggling to find a pattern. I think that the problem is that I've read so many stories about the yarn being pretty short on yardage, I'm worried, that with my big feet, I'm going to run out. I probably should learn how to do a toe-up sock, as this would go someway to alleviate the problem, but doing that will get me out of my comfort zone big time! I've gone as far as to split the yarn into two 55g balls, all ready for the off.

It's a gorgeous mixture of pinks and purples and is called Summer Berries. Looking at the name, I should have put it as the yarn for July or August - bad planning on my part! I hope that by the time I next blog, a decision will have been made. In the meantime, it's back to scouring Ravelry for some inspiration.

And by the way, when we were in London, I managed to visit the I Knit shop, and not spend ANYTHING!!!!! (Yarn Police be very impressed!)